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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Cookies/Cake/Pastry

RECIPE: Scripture Cake For Easter

gluttony-230-ps

Fun for foodies: Gluttony focuses on the
great feasts of history. Photo courtesy Ten
Speed Press.

 

In her new book, GLUTTONY: More IS More” (Red Rock Press), Nan Lyons, known for the wonderful novel and movie, Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe, describes some of the most lavish feasts and singular dishes through culinary history.

From the ancient Greeks and Romans to the founding chefs of classic cuisine—Carême, Escoffier and Brillat-Savarin—to the breathtaking appetites of history’s prize eaters (King Henry VIII and Diamond Jim Brady, for example), Ms. Lyons plumbs the path of gluttony with wit and style.

Travel the paths of the the rich and famous who enjoy history’s greatest banquets and richest dishes. The book is illustrated with classical art works of people enjoying their food.

The icing on the cake: You and your guests can eat like these lucky gourmands. A portfolio of recipes, created by food editors and writers E. Clarke Reilly and Sylvia Carter, adapts some of the book’s luxurious dishes for contemporary cooks.

The book is available in hardcover and Kindle editions.

 

This recipe, from the recipe portfolio, is simple and Easter-appropriate: Scripture Cake, made with ingredients from the Bible.

 

SCRIPTURE CAKE

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups chopped dried figs (Nahum 3:12)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2¼ cups water (Judges 4:19)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (Revelation 18:13)
  • 1 cup softened butter (Psalms 55:21)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger (I KINGS 10:2)
  • 2 cups sugar (Jeremiah 6:20)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons honey (Exodus 3:8)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 eggs (Isaiah 10:14)
  • 1 cup milk (Genesis 18:8)
  • 3¾ cups flour (Leviticus 24:5)
  • 1¾ cups chopped almonds (Numbers 17:8)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (II Kings 2:20)
  • 1½ cups raisins (I Samuel 30:12)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (Amos 4:5)
  •  

    scripture-cake-gluttony-redrockpress-230r

    The Scripture Cake from Gluttony. Photo courtesy Sylvia Carter.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 300°F. Grease and flour a 10-cup bundt pan.

    2. SIMMER figs and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until figs are very soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

    3. CREAM together butter and sugar in an electric mixer bowl, until light and fluffy. Add honey. Then add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix until well blended.

    4. PURÉE cooled figs and water until smooth. Strain purée through triple cheese-cloth to yield about a cup of fig essence.

    5. SIFT together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices in a clean bowl. Combine fig essence with milk and alternately mix fig milk and dry ingredients with egg mixture, ending with the dry mixture. Fold in chopped almonds and raisins.

    6. POUR batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour and 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few crumbs on it.

    7. COOL for 20 minutes and then remove from pan and cool completely on cake rack. Makes 16 servings.
     
    We added a side of bourbon whipped cream as a garnish.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Chocolate Matzoh Crunch (Bark) For Passover

    Passover begins on the evening of Monday, April 14th and ends on the evening of Tuesday, April 22nd. During that week, observant Jews refrain from bread and other food made with leavened grain.

    Matzoh replaces conventional bread.

    Passover is the story of the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The Bible relates that the Israelites left Egypt in such haste that they could not wait for their bread dough to rise; the result, when baked, was matzoh (Exodus 12:39).

    We can argue over how to spell matzoh: matza, matzah and matzo are common variations (not to mention the plural forms, beginning with matzoth). But we won’t argue about how good chocolate-covered matzoh is, turning the humble unleaved bread into a crunchy chocolate confection.

    You can buy chocolate-covered matzoh, or you can make your own. Here’s a recipe from Golden Blossom, which makes honey that is kosher for Passover.

    You can make the recipe with dark, milk or white chocolate, and with different nuts (we like pistachios).

     

    matzoh-crunch-goldenblossomhoney-230sq

    Matzoh crunch, chocolate “bark” made with crunchy matzoh. Photo courtesy Golden Blossom Honey.

     

    The recipe has a variety of names; among others, chocolate matzoh, matzoh bark, matzoh buttercrunch, matzoh cookie, matzoh crunch, matzoh toffee, and even the questionable matzoh crack.

    Here’s a second “recipe from Marcy Goldman, who calls it “matzo toffee.”

     

    chocolate-matzoh-burdick-230

    Burdick Chocolate and others dip whole
    boards of matzoh in chocolate, and scatter
    nuts, dried fruits or other ingredients on top.
    It is available from BurdickChocolate.com from
    April 7th through April 22nd, and is not
    kosher for Passover.

     

    RECIPE: HONEY ALMOND MATZOH CRUNCH
    (A.K.A. MATZO BARK)

    Active preparation time is 20 minutes; total time is 2 hours. Note that the recipe below produces “just” two boards of matzoh. The 16 pieces won’t last very long!

    Ingredients For About 16 Pieces

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 matzohs, coarsely crumbled (about 1 cup
    crumbled)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Large flake sea salt (such as Maldon), for sprinkling
  • Optional: dried cherries or cranberries, dessicated or flaked coconut
  •  

    Preparation

    1. LINE an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. If using foil, generously butter the foil (parchment paper is naturally nonstick). Set aside.

    2. COMBINE honey and butter in a 2-3 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture begins to boil. Insert a candy thermometer into the bubbling mixture and continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally to prevent scorching, until it is deep amber in color and measures 275°-285ºF, about 8 minutes.

    3. REMOVE from heat and add vanilla extract (be careful as it will spatter). Stir in crumbled matzo pieces, slivered almonds and optional dried cherries until evenly coated. Pour into prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer.

    4. SPRINKLE chocolate chips evenly over top of hot candy. Let sit for 5 minutes, then spread into an even layer using an offset spatula. Sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool for 1 to 2 hours or until set, then cut or break into bite size pieces to serve. Store in an airtight container.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Bird’s Nest Cheesecake

    This cheesecake gift from Harry & David is inspired by the chirping birds of spring, who decorate the top with a “nest” of premium chocolate shavings that holds a few bright blue candy almond robin’s eggs.

    The creamy cheesecakes also feature a chocolate cookie crust and a chocolate ganache layer on top.

    The two New York style cheesecake cheesecakes are 5.5 inches in diameter, enough for four people or a big piece for two.

    A delicious gift for a cheesecake lover or a special occasion dessert, the Bird’s Nest Cheesecakes duo is $29.95 at HarryAndDavid.com.
     
    BAKE YOUR OWN

    Here are some of our favorite cheesecake recipes.

     

    birds-nest-cheesecake-harrydavid-230w

    Cheesecakes for springtime. Photo courtesy Harry & David.

     

      

    Comments

    PASSOVER: Danny Macaroons

    Passover is around the corner, and macaroons are on the menu. The soft, coconut cookies are a delight year-round, but especially appreciated by Passover observers. Made of shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and egg whites—without the flour or leavening that are verboten during this holiday—they happily replace other baked sweets. (They’re gluten-free, too.)

    Dan Cohen of Danny’s Macaroons and author of The Macaroon Bible, is one of the country’s—and probably the world’s—great macaroon makers. Beyond his grandmother’s plain and chocolate dipped, he’s brought macaroons into the new flavor age.

    The cookies are made with kosher ingredients, but are not kosher for Passover. Still, those who observe the spirit of the law if not the letter of it, will enjoy every bite.

    DANNY MACAROON FLAVORS

    Just take a look at these choices:

     

    the-macaroon-bible-230

    Get the book and bake your own! Photo courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

  • Amarena Cherry, topped with an semi-candied cherry
  • Baileys McRoons
  • Bourbon
  • Black Chocolate Stout
  • Chocolate Almond
  • Chocolate Banana Nut
  • Chocolate Caramel
  • Chocolate Dipped
  • Chocolate Malted
  • Guava
  • Jamstand Surprise with spicy raspberry jalapeño jam
  • Maple Pecan Pie
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Plain Coconut
  • Red Velvet
  • Rice Pudding
  • Spiced Pumpkin
  • Stoopid, coconut macaroons are filled with potato chips, pretzels and pieces of Butterfinger, then drizzled with dark chocolate (how this relates to stupid, we can’t say)
  •  
    Get yours at DannyMacaroons.com.

     

    box-danny-macaroons-southportgrocery-230

    How many flavors do we want? All of them!
    Photo courtesy Southport Grocery.

     

    THE HISTORY OF MACAROONS

    “Macaroon” means different things to different people. To some, it’s a big ball of coconut, to others, a delicate, airy meringue. Both are delicious and neither is made with flour, making them options for gluten-free observers and for the Jewish holiday of Passover.

    The first macaroons were almond meringue cookies similar to today’s Amaretti di Saronno, with a crisp crust and a soft interior. They were made from egg whites and almond paste.

    Macaroons traveled to France in 1533 with the pastry chefs of Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henri II. Two Benedictine nuns, Sister Marguerite and Sister Marie-Elisabeth, seeking asylum in the town of Nancy during the French Revolution (1789-1799), paid for their housing by baking and selling the macaroon cookies, and thus became known as the “Macaroon Sisters” (the French word is macaron, pronounced mah-kah-RONE).

    Italian Jews adopted the cookie because it has no flour or leavening, the agent that raises and lightens a baked good, such as baking powder and baking soda (instead, macaroons are leavened by egg whites).

     

    The recipe was introduced to other European Jews and became popular for Passover as well as a year-round sweet.Over time, coconut was added to the ground almonds in Jewish macaroons, and, in certain recipes, completely replaced them.

    Coconut macaroons are more prevalent in the U.S. and the U.K.—and they’re a lot easier to make and transport than the fragile almond meringues that became the norm in France.

    Here’s more macaroon history.

      

    Comments

    PASSOVER: Flourless Persian Pistachio Cake

    This recipe comes via Chef Jennifer Abadi and Zabar’s. The aromatic, citrus notes of cardamom add flair to a simple cake.

    Preparation time is one hour; the cake yields eight to ten servings.

    RECIPE: FLOURLESS PERSIAN PISTACHIO CAKE
    WITH CARDAMOM SYRUP

    Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup matzoh meal
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground cardamom
  •  
    Wet Ingredients

  • 3 extra large eggs (or 4 large eggs), lightly beaten
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ cup water
  •  

    flourlesss-persian-pistachio-cake-jenniferAbadi-zabars-230

    Ground nuts replace flour in cakes for Passover. Photo courtesy Zabar’s.

     
    For Decoration

  • 3 tablespoons shelled, unsalted pistachios, as decoration
  •  

    cardamom-pods-farmgirlgourmet-230

    Cardamom pods. Photo courtesy Heather
    Scholten | Farmgirl Gourmet.

      For Cardamom-Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • Few pinches black pepper
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 crushed cardamom pods
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. POUR pistachios into a food processor and pulse until they become a fine meal-like consistency, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the matzoh meal and pulse together an additional minute.

    3. POUR ground pistachio mixture into a medium size bowl and combine with remaining dry ingredients.

    4. ADD the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.

     

    5. POUR the batter into a greased 8- or 9-inch square baking pan and sprinkle with whole pistachios. Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and center of cake is soft but not wet (cake should still be fairly moist). Meanwhile, prepare the syrup.

    6. COMBINE the sugar, salt, pepper, and water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a bubbling simmer over medium heat. Add the ground cardamom and cardamom pods, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (the liquid will thicken slightly). Remove from heat.

    7. REMOVE cake from oven and cool 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve at room temperature sprinkled with the cardamom-sugar syrup.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Cake Pops & Cake Balls

    baby-cakes-pop-maker-230sq

    Baby Cakes cake pop maker. Photo courtesy Baby Cakes.

     

    If you’ve never made cake pops but would like to if it were easy, the Babycakes Pop Maker is a fool-proof, inexpensive appliance that make round balls of cake.

    The original cake pops recipe involves baking a cake, crumbling it into a large pan, adding frosting to stick the crumbs together, and then forming cake balls with your hands.

    The Baby Cakes cake pop maker delivers a similar result with less effort. Simply pour 2 tablespoons of cake or brownie batter into each hole, close the lid and bake for about 7 minutes. Dip the cake balls into melted chocolate or other flavor or peanut butter chips, or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

    You don’t even need sticks: Eat the cake balls like doughnut holes. You can inject a filling—jam, chocolate sauce, custard or pudding—into the balls with the injector tool provided.

     
    The machine can also be used to make wonderful baked hushpuppies and potato balls (which you can make on a slow day and freeze), and bread balls, like cornbread.

    One box of mix makes 4 dozen balls.

    Make cake balls for an Easter treat, an anytime sweet, and a last-minute treat if someone drops by for coffee. By the time you brew the coffee, the cake balls can be ready. With Baby Cakes, it’s always party time.

    It’s also a fun gift for teens and tweens, who can make cake pops and cake balls for their friends.

    And, you can make “cake” in hot summer months without turning on the oven.

     

    The cake pop maker, which bakes 12 cake balls at a time, is $25.20 on Amazon.com. It includes:

  • 75 cake pop sticks and a filling injector
  • Recipes, a plastic cake pop stand and a fork tool for removing the balls without tearing them.
  •  
    You can buy a more elaborate cake pops serving tray for parties, and this much more glamorous cake pop tower.

    BAKING TIPS

  • Let the cake mix sit in the bowl for a few minutes, so it can start to rise.
  • Even though the baking plates are nonstick, lightly grease/spray the pan before adding the batter.
  • It may take a couple of tries to learn how high to fill the cups before baking in order to achieve perfection.
  • Be sure the lid is closed straight (or the balls can come out lopsided).
  • Save the styrofoam packing to hold cake pops as you dip them. Just make holes with an ice pick.
  •  

    175-best-babycakes-cake-pops-230

    Treat yourself to a recipe book like this one for decorating inspiration.

     

    There are several cake pops recipe books that show many ways to decorate cake pops—even if you’re not particularly dextrous.

    Then, you’re set for many hours of food fun.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: April Fool—It Isn’t Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

    We’re cooking up some food fun for tomorrow, April Fool’s Day. This year, it’s trompe-l’oeil food.

    Trompe-l’oeil (pronounced trump LOY), French for “deceive the eye”, is an art technique that creates the optical illusion that a piece of two-dimensional art exists in three dimensions. You may have seen some amazing sidewalk art that fools you into thinking you’re about to step into a hole, a pool, etc.

    We’re adapting the “deceive the eye” reference to “food trompe-l’oeil”—food that looks like one thing but is actually another. Serve this “grilled cheese and tomato soup” dish, which is actually orange pound cake and strawberry soup.

    Thanks to Zulka Morena sugar for the recipes and fun idea. If you’ve got a great palate or simply preferred less processed sugar, try it. The top-quality sugar is minimally processed and never refined. You can taste the difference!

     

    strawberry-soup-orange-pound-cake-zulkasugar-230

    April Fool’s food: Standing in for tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich are strawberry soup and pound cake. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    RECIPE: ORANGE POUND CAKE

    Ingredients

    For The Pound Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  •  
    For the Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract or juice
  • 2-5 drops natural orange food color
  •  

    zulka-morena-cane-sugar-2-230

    Zulka makes less processed, better tasting
    sugar. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a standard loaf pan.

    2. CREAM together in a medium bowl the butter, sugar and orange zest until fluffy. Add the eggs in 3 parts, combining well after each addition. In a separate small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture until just combined. Add the sour cream and orange juice and mix well.

    3. POUR into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top, and bake for 1 hour or longer, until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. If the top starts to brown too much before the cake is done, tent with a piece of foil.

    4. REMOVE from oven; cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

    5. MIX the frosting ingredients together until well combined. Add more food color as needed to reach desired color.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Slice the pound cake into 1/2 inch slices. Spread a small amount of butter on one side and grill on a griddle or skillet until toasted looking, being careful not to burn. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining slices. Once all are cool, cut them each in half to make the two halves of each “sandwich.” Spread about a tablespoon of frosting on a non-toasted side of the cake, spreading some to the edges to make it look like melted cheese, and then top with the other half. Repeat with remaining slices.

     

    RECIPE: CHILLED STRAWBERRY SOUP

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 pounds strawberries, stems removed and hulled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1-1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • Optional: yellow food color
  • Optional garnishes: 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, fresh basil leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DICE the strawberries, sprinkle the sugar over the top and let sit for 15 minutes. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Let chill completely. If you want the color to be more orange, like tomato soup, add a few drops of yellow food color.

    2. DIVIDE among 6 bowls. Drizzle a little heavy cream over the top and garnish with basil leaves.

    APRIL FOOL’S DAY HISTORY

    The origin of April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is obscure. The most accepted explanation traces it to 16th century France.

    Until 1564, the Julian calendar, which observed the beginning of the New Year in April, was in use. According to The Oxford Companion to the Year, King Charles IX then declared that France would begin using the Gregorian calendar, which shifted New Year’s Day to January 1st.

    Some people continued to use the Julian Calendar, and were mocked as fools. They were invited to bogus parties, sent on a fool’s errand (looking for things that don’t exist) and other pranks.

    The French call April 1st Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish. French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.

    What a fish has to do with April Fool’s Day is not clear. But in the name of a kinder, gentler world, we propose eliminating this holiday. (Source: Wikipedia)

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

    The clever media relations people at DoubleTree by Hilton know just how to get a busy writer to take time from the editorial calendar* and apportion it to them.

    Because you’ve got to love people who send you delicious chocolate chip cookies. In thanks, you’ve got to write about them. So here goes:

    DoubleTree guests know that a warm chocolate chip cookie will be waiting for them on arrival. In its 25 year history, more than 300 million cookies have been handed out at DoubleTree by Hilton hotels around the world.

    The popular cookies are also sold in the hotel gift shops and online

    Three and a half inches in diameter, in a soft and chewy style, the cookies have no nuts but a hint of cinnamon. It’s a nice touch that we must remember to try the next time we bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

    Each cookie is approximately two full ounces, filled with an average of 20 chocolate chips. More than 580,000 pounds of chocolate chips are used each year in the 21 million cookies given out.

     

    doubletree-chocolate-chip-cookie-230

    Cookie care: Send some to a loved one. Photo courtesy DoubleTree by Hilton.

     
    Cookie Care

    DoubleTree has donated more than one million cookies to communities where it operates hotels: to doctors and nurses, homeless shelters and orphanages, food banks and firefighters.

    If you’re a Hilton Honors member, you can enter the Cookie Care sweepstakes on Facebook to win cookies for yourself and the person(s) you’ll share them with. Not an Honors member? You can sign up via the Facebook page.

    Coming soon, the cookie dough will be available for sale online, so those who have become very fond of the cookies don’t need to check into the hotel in order to have a warm one.

    Now for the burning question: Why can’t airlines serve these cookies in First Class instead of the thanks-but-no-thanks oil-based, butterless cookies they serve?

     
    *Publications chart their schedule of articles on an “editorial calendar,” a calendar which shows what will be published every day (or, for weekly and monthly periodicals, every week/month).

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cookies & Cream Cheesecake

    Some might think that we publish too many cheesecake recipes. But when cheesecake is one’s favorite comfort food, how many is too many?

    Plus, we need to get our last licks: “Cheesecake season” concludes at the end of spring. The dense cream cheese cheesecake we favor is too heavy for summer. So this may be our last recipe until fall.

    The recipe is from Lauryn Cohen, a.k.a. Bella Baker. Says Lauryn:

    “This is easily the best cheesecake I’ve ever made: a chocolate wafer cookie crust, a rich and creamy cheesecake layer, crushed Oreo cookies mixed into the silky batter and topped with a drizzle of chocolate ganache, chocolate whipped cream and more Oreo cookies.”

    We made it for National Oreo Day, March 6th.

    RECIPE: COOKIES & CREAM CHEESECAKE

    Ingredients

    For The Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies (reserve one cookie for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  •  

    Cookies & Cream cheesecake: a fusion of two favorites. Photo courtesy Bella Baker.

     

    For The Filling

  • 3 eight-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature (Lauryn used two packaged of reduced fat and one package of regular; we used three packages of full fat organic cream cheese)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 15 mini Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped for the batter
  •  

    Save a chocolate wafer cookie to decorate
    the center. Photo courtesy Bella Baker.

     

    TOPPINGS

    For The Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature, cut into 4 pieces
  •  
    For The Chocolate Whipped Cream

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Approximately 25 mini Oreo cookies
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

    2. MIX melted butter with Oreo crumbs and sugar and press into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 5 minutes and set aside.

    3. BEAT cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high until fluffy, making sure that there are no clumps. Slowly add sugar and continue beating cream cheese until mixed well. Add eggs one at a time and continue to beat until blended. Add the vanilla, salt and milk; beat until smooth and creamy. Add the flour and beat until batter is satiny smooth. Stir in the coarsely chopped Oreo cookies with a spoon.

    4. POUR cream cheese mixture into the pan and bake for one hour and 15 minutes. After that time, turn oven off and keep oven door slightly open. Let the cheesecake stay in the oven for one hour. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

    5. MAKE the ganache: Place heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Place chopped chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Once heavy cream has reached boiling pour half the heavy cream over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 30 seconds, then gently stir chocolate and cream together with a rubber spatula in a figure eight motion. Pour remaining heavy cream over chocolate and continue to gently stir. Add butter, one piece at a time, until ingredients are fully incorporated and the ganache is smooth and glossy.

    6. MAKE the chocolate whipped cream: Beat heavy cream on high speed for about 2-3 minutes. Once mixture has started to thicken, add add cocoa powder and sugar and continue beaten until whipped cream mixture has formed.

    7. GARNISH the chilled cake. Drizzle chocolate ganache over the top of the cake, in the grid pattern shown in the photo or in your own artistic interpretation. Pipe the chocolate whipped cream in mounds around the rim of the cake and in the center. Place one mini Oreo in each mound of whipped cream, and a chocolate wafer cookie in the center.

    While this recipe may seem over the top to some, you’ll note that it’s a relatively flat cake—torte-like, not like the often-found three-inch-high/four-inch-high New York cheesecake.

    So a slice is an indulgence, but not a jumbo indulgence.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Decorate With Sixlets

    Recently a friend gave us a cache of Sixlets left over from Halloween. She didn’t want to keep them for next Halloween, and figured we could “do something for THE NIBBLE” with them.

    So we started to decorate desserts.

    None of our efforts looked as good as the examples on Sixlets’ Facebok Page, so take a look and get inspired.

    Sixlets are a boon for easy cake and cupcake decorating.

  • They’re perfectly round hard-coated chocolate candies like M&Ms, but less cloying* and less “commercial.” (M&M’s have their place, and it isn’t everywhere.)
  • They’re available in every color you could want, like jelly beans, but are smaller and easier to work with.
  • They’re larger than colored dragées, and are much more pleasant to eat.
  • They’re sold in individual colors plus seasonal mixes (autumn, Christmas, Halloween, etc.).
  •  

    sixlets-argyle-cake-hellocupcake-230

    You don’t have to be this painstaking, but it sure is impressive. Argyle Candy Cake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, authors of Hello, Cupcake!

     

    sixlets_pastel_sixlets-230

    Get ready for Easter: You can buy pastel
    Sixlets in bulk online. Photo courtesy Sixlets.

     

    Sixlets are made by Sweetworks, a Toronto-based company. You may know them in individual packages from the candy stand, but they are available in bulk for serious decorating: in 1, 2, 5 and 10 pound bags.

    The line is certified kosher (OU-dairy) and is gluten-free.

    We used them:

  • To cover the sides of frosted cakes
  • To cover the exposed sides of whoopie pies
  • As cupcake toppings
  • Layered in a parfait
  •  
    We’re planning ahead for a red, white and blue “flag cake” for Independence Day.

     
    Now it’s your turn!

    *Unlike the super-sugary M&M’s chocolate centers, the centers of Sixlets are made from a mix of cocoa and carob, giving them a kind of “malted chocolate” taste.

      

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